Rugby Union

Ian Ritchie believes the Joe Marler-Samson Lee case should be closed.

England chief: Six Nations decision should close Joe Marler-Samson Lee case

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England chief Ian Ritchie believes RBS 6 Nations bosses clearing Joe Marler over his "gypsy boy" slur to Samson Lee "should be the end of the matter".

Harlequins prop Marler escaped with a reprimand after insulting Scarlets front-rower Lee in England's 25-21 victory over Wales at Twickenham on Saturday, March 12.

England boss Eddie Jones scolded Marler before the Six Nations committee accepted his private and public apology to Lee as sufficient, opting not to impose any punishments.

World Rugby have since launched an investigation into the process behind clearing Marler, and could yet enforce sanctions on the 25-year-old - but Ritchie has backed the Six Nations' disciplinary rulings.

"Let's take some perspective and let's not deflect from what we did in terms of the Grand Slam," said Rugby Football Union (RFU) chief executive Ritchie.

"As far as Joe's concerned, pretty clearly what he said was entirely inapproproate, he recognised that, he apologised very quickly and has apologised publicly since then.

"It's pretty clear that nobody made a complaint about it, and I think Samson Lee's reaction to it has been evident and he accepted the apology.

"Eddie and I spoke about it and when Eddie talks to someone that person is left in no doubt as to the appropriate nature of his behabour, and that it should not be repeated.

"There was no citing officer complaint, there was no referee complaint, and the Six Nations looked at the matter fully as well, and came to a conclusion.

"So as far as I'm concerned that should be the end of the matter."

Marler came off the bench to help England claim their first Grand Slam since 2003 in Saturday's 31-21 victory over France in Paris.

The Quins front-rower apologised to Lee at half-time during the Wales match a week earlier, said to have quickly realised his insult was unacceptable.

Marler is not yet in the clear however, with global governing body World Rugby expected to announce in the coming days whether they will take further action.

Ritchie however has insisted he feels the matter was well handled by all parties in the first instance.

"If they want to look at it, they should look at it, and so be it," said Ritchie.

"I don't think nothing was done, I think all of the things I've just outlined were what happened and what was done.

"Apology was offered and accepted, it was inappropriate, it was wrong, and I think that is the best way to deal with it.

"World Rugby may well take action and if that's the case, that's the case.

"That's a matter for them. But when you look at the various groupings of people who looked at it, including the Six Nations, they came to a conclusion.

"If World Rugby wish to pursue it and there's a different conclusion, all I can do is say so be it."

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